Filling an empty nest begins by accepting the emptiness.
And by emptying ourselves of all the expectations that so easily lead to disappointment.
But it doesn’t happen overnight.
The last two years have been a season of sad encompassing my mother’s heart, not in every moment but many, as I say goodbye to a life I lived for decades.
A life where I was knee deep in skinned knees and never ending nurturing. Rarely able to see past the garden fence in those days with little ones in the home, and always busy and tired, full with joy as well as frustrations.
Bur my sadness has been juxtaposed with the happiest of times in my life as the wife of the dearest man I have ever known, my Michael, with whom I joined hearts in the later summer of life, never expecting such dreams to come true.
And all this transitioning up and down and back and forth is taxing if I hold too tight.
Tying knots in the ribbons that reach back to days gone by as if the strongest knot could prevent them from slipping away.
But in the not letting go of what was, hands clenched shut, I am not fully open to receive the gifts given in all the moments of now.
Still a season of grieving is normal and necessary for anyone transitioning to an empty nest as memories tug at heartstrings, pulling us this way one day and that way the next until we finally choose to be grateful for all that was.
Thanking God for every single minute of the precious past.
And then letting it go, never forgotten but relegated to its proper place.
Opening up hands to take hold of all God has planned for this new season, these days that all too quickly will melt into memories, too.
And I don’t want to miss out on these rare and treasured empty nest days that are full of life and love, though different than before.
I want to dwell in these days of precious gifts all new, with an open mind and a soft heart, savoring every one.
And if your heart is running on empty as your nest has emptied then turn to your First Love and fill from His fountain with thoughtful time spent in His word each day.
Let it wash over you and speak to you in His language of love, filling the cracks in your heart that are aching. For when we are no longer chasing the wind trying to catch a runaway toddler, we have the time to sit still and let the wind of His spirit fill us afresh in a whole new way with holiness that makes us whole.
We can also reach out to girlfriends who are in the same season of life, sharing feelings, laughter, maybe a tear or two. And chocolate! Always chocolate.
We can start a new exercise routine like yoga which helps tame the tension with breath work and stretching. Or boost endorphins outdoors with hubby, hiking in breathtaking places.
If your budget allows take a class. Learn something new, or go back and finish your degree. Start a business, volunteer with your favorite non-profit or finish writing that book that sits on the shelf in your heart.
When wanderlust strikes, hit the open road, exploring places never seen before.
Rediscover your husband, the one you vowed your life to before the days of diapers and waiting up past curfew for teenagers.
After the Lord, your husband is your primary ministry in life. Focus on being the helper to him that God wants you to be.
I learned the beauty, fulfillment and joy of this later in life, after miserable missteps cost me and my loved ones greatly. My selfishness in days gone never allowing me to see the blessing in servanthood, of putting another before self, of sharing goals and dreams that belong uniquely to two.
And a fun way to rediscover the wonderful guy you married and the romance that you share is on a date night.
Whether simple or elaborate, what matters is that you set aside time solely for the two of you, no interruptions allowed.
For a romantic night on the town without leaving your home, try something like this:
Set the table pretty with soft, glowing candles and cook a favorite meal.
Slip into that dress he loves for you to wear.
Share a sweet dessert.
Listen to music that sets the mood for an evening of intimacy.
Draw close to your beloved as he takes you in his arms, remembering that he is your one and only partner for this dance of life.
Just because your nest has emptied and the chicks have flown far from home to find their own lives doesn’t mean your life has ended.
The best is yet to be.
Your life is hidden with God in Christ. And His love is ever constant, enfolding you through all the seasons. Ever calling in whispers that often slipped away upon the wind during the whirlwind days of raising a family.
And your life is shared with this man you go to bed with each night, the one you sometimes fight with, the one you love with all your heart and soul, the one you wouldn’t want to live without.
Life in this later stage of empty can be overflowingly full with love, adventure, and dreams coming true once you surrender it all to God.
So let the grace of God wrap around you and your husband, swallowing you silver into the moonlight casting shadows on the wall.
Where memories lush and lovely are in the making…
Today’s post is Day 9 of a #31days series called First comes Love…
If you would like to receive our new posts as we publish them, SUBSCRIBE now and receive FREE our eBook BREAKOUT Manifesto…When you’re ready to break free of brokenness.
Please LIKE our Facebook page. Or FOLLOW us on Twitter.